Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Blooms and Butterflies of July

After that rainy June we just had, the July heat has arrived. As long as I have air conditioning to retreat from the heat, I don't mind it a bit. July heat is what brings on the butterflies here in Robin's Nest. And you know how I feel about attracting butterflies! I've had a healthy population of butterflies here for years, but suddenly this summer, I realized that I had indeed made this into a butterfly garden. They come here in droves!

Tiger swallowtail
Red Admiral
Eastern swallowtail 
Zebra swallowtail

I love all butterflies, but of course monarchs are my favorite. I've been raising some indoors for about five years now, and this year is no different. They were late to show up here, but now I see them regularly. I've already released 16 of them, have ten in chrysalis, plus ten tiny newborns that I brought in from eggs. It never gets old for me, obviously!

Monarch laying eggs
Monarch chrysalis
Male monarch to release

Don't get me wrong, I may love butterflies, but flowers are still the main attraction here in Robin's Nest. July heat means that some of them start to fade though. I don't have many roses right now, they like cooler weather. Still, a few of them pop out now and then.

Chinatown rose
At Last rose
Fourth of July rose
Angelface rose

On the other hand, my container gardens usually get better and better as summer wears on. I'm particularly fond of my white themed window boxes. White is outside the box for this color lover, but I ended up loving them.

Zinnia bouquet with portulaca container
White container for part shade
White container for sun
Coleus container for part shade
Hibiscus container
Caladiums and elephant ears

If you've followed my blog at all over the years, you might remember that I'm a fan of Queen Red Lime zinnias. I grow them every year. Last year, they did poorly, but this year they're looking better. I actually grow several different varieties of zinnias, plus I added two new types that I'm enamored with, Oklahoma salmon and Queen Lime Blush. I'll probably go out of the way to grow both of these again. They may even overturn Queen Red Lime as my new favorites, and you heard it here first.

Queen Red Lime zinnias
Oklahoma salmon zinnias
Oklahoma salmon zinnias with rudbeckia 
Queen Lime Blush zinnias
Queen Lime Blush zinnias
Envy zinnias
Candy stripe zinnia with mealycup sage
Cut and Come Again zinnias
Cut and Come Again zinnias
Cut and Come Again zinnias

And then there are the random flowers you may have seen here before, and some that are new. Like raising monarch butterflies, these flowers never get old to me either.

White Swan echinacea with valerian
Bird bath with snapdragons, etc
Mandevilla and lilies 
Echinacea and Red Admiral butterfly
Endless Summer hydrangea
Sugar Shack button bush
Tiger Swallowtail on lantana
Echinacea with catmint and a snapdragon
Little Quickfire hydrangea with snapdragons and caladiums
Cherry Brandy rudbeckia
Sedum Autumn Joy
Little Lime hydrangea 
Cherry Cheesecake hibiscus
Globe thistle

 And now July is winding down, and our unusual wet summer is slowly turning into our more common dry and hot summer. Darn. I thought maybe for once I wouldn't have to do the garden hose rodeo. But I'll keep watching and hoping for more rain! Maybe August will be rainy? It could happen. Well, not usually, not here anyway. But maybe we'll get lucky this year.

Cut and Come Again zinnias
Lilies with mealycup sage 
Back border with bottle tree
Monarch on zinnias
Front border